To build the Lehigh of the future, Lehigh University announces the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Scholars Program. Our University is dedicated to the Principles of our Equitable Community and committed to creating diverse, inclusive, and scholarly climates. This initiative is designed to create an outstanding professional opportunity for scholars with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, including those historically underrepresented in the academy, who possess a commitment to inclusive excellence as they prepare for future tenure track appointments at Lehigh or elsewhere. Scholars from any discipline represented at Lehigh University are invited to apply to be Postdoctoral Scholars in the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Program. The participating postdoctoral scholars will receive support towards developing a portfolio of experiences and scholarship or creative works suitable for future faculty positions. Following two (up to three) years of a successful postdoctoral experience, scholars will have the opportunity to be considered for assistant professor positions in a relevant Lehigh department, and remain part of our vibrant, collaborative, intellectual and welcoming community.
The application for the 2023-2025 inaugural cohort opens February 20, 2023.
Appointments may begin between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.
Groups historically underrepresented in the academy are: women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, first-generation students, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
About the Program
Aligned with Lehigh University's Principles of our Equitable Community and in support of our Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Plan 2021-2026, the goals of the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Program are to:
- Enhance the diversity and skills of future faculty at Lehigh, or similar institutions, by accepting outstanding scholars with diverse social group identities, including those historically underrepresented in the academy (women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, first-generation students, and members of the LGBTQ+ community). Participating scholars must show a demonstrated commitment to cultivating and contributing to an inclusive faculty and an inclusive academic experience for all students.
- Provide enriching research experiences and pre-faculty professional development in a top-notch and collaborative environment to outstanding, diverse postdoctoral scholars who aspire to be faculty at Lehigh, or similar institutions,
- Welcome each scholar into an academic setting prepared to provide resources, infrastructure, and relationships necessary for future faculty career success.
- Enhance research creativity and productivity through networked opportunities that improve the learning environment, research collaborations, and capacity of all our members.
- Talented scholars interested in pursuing the professoriate, especially at Lehigh, should apply to this program to make fast gains in establishing their independent research careers. This program will strongly benefit scholars with a commitment to mentorship, professional development specific to research/creative works, and teaching areas of interest.
- Scholars will have a competitive salary (minimum $65,000), full employee benefits (including contributions to retirement), and $10,000 per year professional funds for use towards conferences, travel, professional development, research supplies, etc.
- Scholars starting in 2023-2024 will be part of the inaugural cohort. They will form a communitiy of up to 10 postdoctoral scholars in this program, which will grow with each subsequent cohort.
- Scholars, with endorsement of their mentors, departments, and dean, will have the opportunity to to be considered for assistant professor positions.
- Applicants must hold a doctoral degree in any of the disciplines at Lehigh University by the time of the appointment.
- The doctoral degree should have been earned within the last three years prior to potential appointment.
- If the candidate's PhD was earned at Lehigh, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Scholars with social group identities, including those historically underrepresented in the academy (women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, first-generation students, and members of the LGBTQ+ community), are encouraged to apply.
- Candidates must be eligible to work in the USA.
- Current Lehigh University postdoctoral associates are eligible if they will have one year or less postdoctoral experience before the potential appointment.
- Current Lehigh University Visiting Assistant Professors are eligible.
- Individuals currently working at Lehigh University as Teaching Assistant Professors are not eligible.
A qualified host department (or program or research institute) is one that has demonstrated a track record for cultivating a supportive and professional environment for diverse scholars to thrive. Departments must put forward documentation to the dean and Executive Committee in the form of a "Proposal to Host" plan in Infoready. All departments /academic units can be qualified hosts. Where department is used here, we refer to the main scholarly unit of hire, scholarly contribution and evaluation.
The Proposal to Host plan must:
describe attributes of the department's supportive environment and ongoing commitments and activities to enhancing diversity, inclusion and equity. This will include describing the strategy (implemented already or planned for the future) for supporting faculty from historically underrepresented backgrounds,
detail how the new postdoctoral scholar will be welcomed and onboarded,
describe teaching expectation, if any,
articulate preliminary mentorship and professional development commitments (via mentoring plan; Future Faculty Development Plan, FFDP),
describe financial resource commitment (50% cost share with the Program) to attract and ultimately retain scholars through the postdoctoral period,
outline the vision for the path for the scholar to be considered for a Lehigh tenure track position.
Proposal making should be thought of as a cooperative process and may be revised and approved after an iterative consultation with the Program's Executive Committee to increase the likelihood of a successful match and professional experience for all. FFDPs will be customized based on the needs of the interviewed scholars who are selected for appointment and then finalized after appointment.
Successful applicants for the Program will be selected on the basis of scholarly promise and potential to contribute to the pursuit of the educational benefits of a diverse campus community.
Applicants must have completed their terminal degree by the time of appointment and must be no more than three years beyond receiving their Ph.D.
Roles, Expectations and Terms
The Executive Committee partners with the ADVANCE Center, deans, departments and programs in the following ways:
- screens applications and routes files for review
- reviews proposals to be a host department, and suggests recommendations for improvements, if need be, so the final plans are comprehensive and strong
- ensures postdocs engage in meaningful research/creative activities, professional development, (and teaching where applicable) setting them up for successful future tenure-track positions at Lehigh or elsewhere.
- considers the Individual Future Faculty Development Plans plans and the mentee and mentor semester reports and can provide feedback or recommendations to the dean's office, departments and programs in order to support the needs and development of the postdoctoral scholars.
- advises on and/or plans the suite of postdoctoral professional development events for the cohort
The current members of the Executive Committee are: Drs. Shalinee Kishore, Marci Levine, Chris Liang, Henry Odi, Dominic Packer, Joan Ramage.
- Current faculty members are expected to cooperatively submit a Proposal to Host. A Guide for the Proposal to Host can be found on Infoready. Departments with questions or seeking guidance on the Proposal can contact email@example.com. The Infoready application requires you to indicate if you are applying to be a Cohort 1 (2023-2025) Host or to start your application now for Cohort 2 (2024-2026).
- The Department Chair of a host department is accountable for the plan described in the accepted proposal and for experience of the hired postdoctoral scholar, and thus:
- will meet regularly with the mentors and also with the mentees to discuss and align expectations, goals, and progress.
- should coordinate with the mentor(s) to welcome and network the fellow across the Lehigh Community.
- can use guides for these expectation and progress monitoring conversations (will be found in the Hosting Guide).
- Current faculty are expected to play an active role in integrating the postdoctoral scholar into the life of the department, program, or research institute.
Mentors will meet regularly with the fellow to help establish connections, professional goals, and discuss progress. Guides for these meetings, including the faculty development plan and templates for mentor reports will be provided to mentors.
Mentors will also meet regularly with the department chair.
Each postdoctoral scholar is expected to be in residence at Lehigh University, per the operating status of the University.
Upon acceptance, postdocs will be contacted about onboarding.
Postdocs will meet regularly with their mentor(s), usually weekly; and meet at least once per semester with the department chair.
Each Postdoc will create a Individual Future Faculty Development Plan with their mentor(s). This should be reviewed each semester and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Plans should be organized to support establishing goals and aligning resources or opportunities for the following domains:
- developing your research/creative work towards independent scholarship
- teaching work (if it is part of overall expectations)
- professional development goals through participation in department and college meetings, other events or utilization of resources
As the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Program is designed to help the postdoctoral scholar build a research portfolio toward their future academic success, it will be up to the department to determine if and how much the scholar is required to teach courses at Lehigh University (maximum one course per year). For those that are not instructors of record, they may deliver occasional guest lectures, for example. Even if the agreed to development plan does not include teaching courses, the postdoctoral scholars are expected to participate in professional development about teaching and learning.
Expectations for producing research/creative works are the main priority of this postdoctoral experience. Thus, each fellow is expected to present at least one research seminar or colloquium on the Lehigh University campus during each academic year of the fellowship. They should also present their work at a national or international conferences.
Postdocs in this program are encouraged to participate in grant and foundation proposal writing and in outreach activities, in addition to the customary activities of postdoctoral fellows of research, publication, and presentation.
Lehigh University will provide the Program's postdoctoral scholars placement in at least one host laboratory, academic program, or department in their area of academic interest or specialty. Scholars will have an office, computer, phone, and access to the libraries and related tools for research. The faculty members and the host department chairs agree to furnish the laboratory and/or office space, supplies, and access to needed equipment and research supports for the scholar's proposed research/creative work and/or teaching for the entire period.
Lehigh University will provide the scholar with at least one faculty member to serve as a mentor.
Lehigh University will appoint each Postdoctoral Scholar for a 12-month term with the potential to renew for two or possibly three additional years. Scholars whose appointment begins during the 2023-2024 academic year will receive an annual salary of $65,000 plus health care benefits, as well as $10,000 toward conference travel and other research-related and professional development expenses.
Scholars who are successful in the Advancing Future Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Program may be considered for faculty appointments at Lehigh University. They are not required to accept a faculty appointment as a condition of their appointment, nor is the university obligated to offer a faculty appointment upon completion of the program. The program is intended as a step towards development as a potential faculty member at Lehigh University or another institution of higher education.
2023-2025 Cohort Process for Review and Selection
- March 20, 2023 Application due for earliest review and Executive Committee reviews and routes complete applications to prospective unit and corresponding dean as suggested by the application.
- March 27, 2023 Letters of Recommendation due.
- Mid May (or as arranged with departments): On campus interviews (2 days, with prospective faculty mentors, department chair, director, dean, faculty collaborators and Executive Committee).
- On or around July 1: Letters announcing decision, including offers of selection, sent to finalists.
- Two weeks after letters sent to finalist: Signed acceptance from postdoctoral scholars due.
- Summer 2023: Newly appointed postdocs should anticipate some onboarding prior to physically reporting to campus for start date.
- July 2023+: Start date, as agreed. Flexibility is possible in the start date between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024, though it is ideal to start early in academic calendar for fall professional development and mentoring.
These are estimated dates, depending on scale of interest and other factors, exact dates may be modified. Departments expressing formal interest will be updated of changes directly. Units interested in starting their application for the second cohort (2024-2026) should indicate this within Infoready and will use another timeline.
- March 27, 2023: Due date for Proposal to Host. Remember proposal preparation should be thought of as a cooperative process and may be revised and approved after an iterative consultation with the program's Executive Committee to increase the likelihood of a successful match and experience for all.
- March 27-April 21 Units and deans complete review with Infoready Guide to Host, make recommendation for selection, and make preliminary customized updates to the prospective selected postdocs' onboarding and career development plans.
- April 28, 2023 Decision made to prospective hosting units and those moving forward begin planning interviews.
- May, 2023 campus inerviews expected
- June 12, 2023 Final evaluations and recommendation for selecting postdoc submitted. This includes any customized updates to the recommended postdocs' onboarding and career development plans
- June 12-16, 2023 Departments and deans notified by Executive Committee and provost about successful matches which also prompts decision letters to applicants
- July 15, 2023 Departments and deans receive signed offer letters from accepting postdoctoral scholars to begin onboarding.
- Summer 2023: Onboarding begins in anticipation of start date between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024, though it is ideal to start early in the academic calendar for fall professional development and mentoring.
Appreciations and References
It is important to recognize the range of nationwide programs and national and local expertise and support which informed this approach at Lehigh University.
This initiative at Lehigh University is a direct outcome of the 2020 call for Creative Ideas to Transform Lehigh into an Anti-Racist Institution. We especially wish to acknowledge the proposal submitted by the team of Drs. Sirry Alang, Kristen Jellison, Shalinee Kishore, Joan Ramage and Jennifer Swann and the proposal submitted by Dr. Peter Zeitler which greatly informed the vision and details of this Program.
We also wish to thank Dr. Autumn Reed and Dr. Dawn Culpepper for their time discussing their research and insights during the May 2022 Equity in STEM Community Convening.
Photo credit on this page: Christa Neu
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Ferguson K., Chen L., Costello T. (2021). “Growing Progress in Supporting Postdocs 2021,” in National Postdoctoral Association Institutional Policy Report, (Triangle Park, NC: Sigma Xi; ).
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